Marc Schwinges – Series Producer
Born in Cape Town to German Parents, Marc matriculated at the South African College School (SACS). He further graduated from the Cape Town Film and Television School in 1988, joining the global advertising agency Young & Rubicam in Johannesburg, where he held positions as studio manager, senior video editor and agency TV producer. In 1993 he co-founded Underdog Productions, a cross-media company, which for 18 years has pioneered marketing communication in television, on the web and in interactive and print fields.
He has produced award-winning work in multiple media, which has been seen and recognised all over the world. Over a hundred hours of Short Films, broadcast documentary, TV series, TV commercial, TV insert and corporate work has been produced under Marc’s watch. He has negotiated the unique funding model being used on the Rough or Smooth project, a first in South Africa.
Marc believes in a larger industry involvement and has always had a close association with many of the most active industry organisations in South Africa, often guiding these organisations to greater heights. He was a founding member and former chair of the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO); of which Underdog is still a member. He is the only Honorary Member of the Documentary Filmmakers’ Association (DFA). He is also currently Vice Chairperson and Executive Committee Member of the industry’s umbrella body, The South African Screen Federation (SASFED), for which he actively represents the larger industry and is involved in key industry-wide decisions. This Federation currently represents 10 industry organisations, with a collective membership of approximately 40 000 people. Marc is also Working Group Member – Support Public Broadcasting South Africa Coalition (S.O.S).
While mainly producing for the South African Market to date, Marc has market and distribution experience having attended MIPCOM in Cannes and every Sithengi Film Market to take place in South Africa. He has a network of global contacts he continues to maintain contact with. Marc also has a broad skills base much wider than other producers in that he is a true cross-media expert, having pioneered digital media exploitation of massive brands such as Big Brother in South Africa. Marc continues to work in multiple media, and is comfortable in all modern media technologies and consults on cross-media work across Africa and Europe.
A shortage of broad-spectrum skills in the cross-media sector in South Africa led Underdog in 2000 to introduce its Puppy Project, which offers hands-on, real world, experiential mentorships. To date, many people – most from previously disadvantaged backgrounds – have benefited from the program.
Ethics and integrity are values he believes in and instils in those he works with. He believes to get people to work hard, he has to work harder and so he is known to often work unnatural hours. He leads by example towards creating a fun, caring, detailed and yet visionary approach to his clients’ needs, his team and the industry as a whole.
As head of Underdog Productions, Marc has built up a broad portfolio of blue chip clients, including corporate, major global NGOs, governments and broadcasters. At age 40 – he is recognised as a respected industry veteran. Marc has strong management abilities, having run Underdog in South Africa for so many years in an often-difficult economic climate. His technical, creative, production, communication and industry knowledge guide his work as he continues to learn in an industry that is constantly evolving.
Johan Hendriksz – Director
Johan Hendriksz has worked in the entertainment industry for almost two decades and he had tried his hand at almost everything! He started his career as performer, but soon expanded his skill set to include technical matters, administrative duties, business principles, managerial skills and creative currency.
Today, he is best known as entertainment consultant, technical director and creative think tank. He works in theatre, the music industry, events industry, corporate communication and television.
Johan grew up in a small town where every boy had a tree house, knew how to ride a horse, repair a bicycle puncture, shoot a pellet gun and drive a tractor. As he was about to start high school, his parents moved to Bloemfontein, and with city life came a number of life-changing experiences. He admits that the move from the tree house to the choir bench was rather clumsy, but that it had introduced him to a world that would satisfy his curiosity and would ultimately land him a career that could stand up against his genetic disposition to boredom.
“A few months after the launch of my career as choir boy, I found myself in a studio at the SABC… acting in one of those daily radio soaps… for a pay cheque! And shortly after that one of the guys I knew from radio, took me to see Mango Groove live. It was the first live concert I’ve ever been to… and I knew right away that I wanted to be in the entertainment business!”
After Matric he joined the SANDF Church Choir and Concert Group for his National Service year, but stayed for a few more years after being offered a permanent position as Musical Director and Conductor. During this time he met and worked with a number of prominent people in the South African entertainment and television industries. When the SANDF Church Choir and Concert Group was disbanded in 1997, he was immediately offered a number of opportunities as freelance performer and production manager. He eventually worked for the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival as Manager of the Fringe Festival.
After two years in that chair, he started his own business. Today, it operates as an entertainment consultancy and production house and it also offers a range of technical and production services. It is the administrative home of artists such as Lizz Meiring, Anna Davel and Terence Bridgett, and a service provider to a long list of corporate clients, theatres, arts festivals, shopping centres, production companies and celebrities, both here and in Europe.
Although his initial focus was on live entertainment, Johan was lured into the world of television when Kyknet approached him and a friend and colleague, Heidi Edeling, to produce the music content for a reality singing competition called Zing. The bug had bitten. Over the past decade, Johan had worked on a number of big television projects across a variety of genres. Highlights include Tweestryd, Dans Dans Dans, Dis hoe dit is met Steve 9, All Access, Kwela, Big Brother Africa, Wat’s die Storie, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Proesstraat.
2011 will again bring a number of exciting projects for both stage and screen, but this year he will also make his debut as host of a new series to be aired on Kyknet… so watch this space!
Riaan Laubscher – DOP
Riaan has considerable experience in multi-camera sport and studio productions, as well as reality, game and stage shows. He has a passion for natural history productions and is very experienced in filming wildlife. He enjoys travelling and relishes spending long periods in the bush. He believes that working on a wide range of productions keeps him stimulated, positive and makes him more versatile.
During and after his studies at the Pretoria Film and Video School, he worked as assistant-editor, sound-editor, editor, camera-assistant, focus-puller and second unit cameraman on a wide variety of film and video productions. From 1991 Riaan focused exclusively on camerawork, filming 59 documentaries, one drama and focus-pulling on two drama series and was also the D.O.P. on 61 commercials. In December ’96 Riaan started filming a ten part natural history series, “The Last Edens”, a two year project shot in Madagascar, the Seychelles, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia, directing an episode, and co-directing another. In between he completed many sport and studio productions, and various other documentaries, including one for Discovery Channel.
Since 1999 he worked on four National Geographic projects, two for BBC Natural World and two Animal Planet series, as well as spending 8 months on Marion Island filming a 26 part natural history/science educational series. This was the first time a film crew was allowed on the island for such an extended period. His recent work as D.O.P, includes: Survivor SA (2006), Survivor Africa (2006), A Heartbeat Away (2008), Into the Pride (2008), Maak ‘n Las II, V, VI, VII & VIII, Fear Factor India – Khatron Ke Khiladi (2008), Fear Factor India – Khatron Ke Khiladi Level 2 (2009), Survivor 4 Maldives (2010).
Stephan has worked in the industry for 16 years as a Freelance Cameraman and DOP on many acclaimed documentaries and Productions such as Carte Blanche (Camera) CAP – Investigative Journalism, Dogs with Jobs (DOP) CBC – Documentar Le Revue de Regopstaan (DOP) Channel 4 France – Documentary, The Summit (Lighting Camera) Curious Pictures – Reality/Documentary. He has also worked on various corporate productions for Dimension Data, World Health Organisation, and Entrepreneurship Support Centre inserts for Take 5 and Enterprise Zone.
Other Productions Stephan has Directed and been the DOP of; MTV Nigeria (Lighting Cameraman) Lucky Bean Productions – Music Africa Today – (Lighting Cameraman) Discovery Channel – America – Documentary, Zola 7 (Director and Camera) Ochre Media – Reality WTO (Director and camera) TVE International (Broadcast on BBC) Shot in Zambia – Documentary Talk With Tumi (Lighting Cameraman)Thumi and Company – Talk Show, The Perfect Famine (DOP) BBC shot in Malawi – Documentary Top Billing (Lighting Cameraman) Tswelopele Productions – Lifestyle Zone 14 – (Location Lighting Cameraman) – Bomb – Drama Sorted Location Comedy Series – DOP)—TOM Pictures – Drama. Stephan has also been nominated for SAFTA, best multi-camera – Sorted 2006.
During this year, Stephan has worked on numerous productions such as Fortuinsoekers – Reality Show, Meerkat Productions Carte Blanche – Investigative Journalism, Combined Artists, All Access – Magazine Show as well as Homebrew Films and now Rough or Smooth – Travel Show Underdog Productions.
Bev Clayton – Line Producer
Bev Clayton was born and raised in Johannesburg South. During her high school years she realised her passion for acting and directing when involved with the house play competitions, annual school plays and public speaking tournaments. After matriculating she applied to Wits School of Dramatic Art where she studied towards a BA Dramatic Art Professional Degree. After 2 years of hard slog she had a good grounding in a number of theatrical and television spheres and from there decided to major in scriptwriting and directing.
Her first major job in the industry was as a permanent employee for Red Pepper Pictures. During that formative stage of her career she tackled anything that came her way including production management, script writing, directing in studio and on location and content producing.
In mid 2006 she was bitten by the freelance bug and moved on. She was fortunate enough to begin working with Marc Schwinges and the Underdog Team on Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year 2006. Under Marc’s guidance she has learned many things and has returned to Underdog over the years to work on various projects as production manager and then line producer.
While freelancing she has continued to direct, script write, production manage and line produce and over the years has worked for TG Workshop, By Design, Red Pepper Pictures, Aquavision, VWV, Goldfish Films, Nemisa, Hooper Productions, Africa Moon Communications, Carmin Promotions, Rapid Blue and ZD Productions.
In 2010 she graduated with an MBA from University of the Witwatersrand. Her objectives were to advance her project management knowledge and equip herself with the tools needed to be successful in a business environment. She completed a dissertation that was an investigation into project management in creative industries.
Matshepo Maja – Production Manager
Matshepo recently attained her BA in Motion Picture Medium at the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, also known as AFDA, Majoring in Directing and Writing (2010). Matshepo has always had a passion about filmmaking and story telling since the tender age of 9. In her 3 years of study, she became known as the “fearless, daring” and the director that pushed the boundaries in film school, as in her graduation film that was based on fire fighters, she had worked with SA’s only internationally recognized special effects company “Grenev Special Effects”, who have done films such as Jerusalema and collaborated with a sponsored team of Johannesburg’s best fire fighters and District Fire Chiefs at the Rietfontein Hazmat and Fire Training Academy. She has worked on the short film “Fihla” as camera assistant that won the best short film at the BFI Festival in London (2008), she also worked as a 2ND AD on the short film “In a Time without Love” which won Best Screen Play (MNet Awards 2010) and Best Short Film (Loeries 2010& Durban International Film Festival).
Matshepo also directed a short Documentary for the Children of Fire Foundation titled “Children of Fire: Place of Miracles” which was screened at the Patch Adams Foundation in the USA for Patch Adam’s 65th birthday, as well as written and directed her own short film that screened at Rosebank Cinema Nouveau and Cape Town Cavendish Square Nouveau (2010). Matshepo has started her own business, and is currently under the mentorship of Marc Schwinges. Matshepo has also recently been scouted by Silver lining Pictures to start her commercials career as a Director and will be signing her contract with them soon.
Nhlanhla Ndaba – Production Manager
Nhlanhla worked as a musical line-up producer and backstage director on a number of events, such as the Miss Gay Soweto pageant and Miss Confidence South Africa (a pageant for people with disabilities). He was production manager for the Out in Africa Film Festival (2002 to 2008) and Encounters Documentary Festival. He has worked on music video concepts for Andile and Brenda Fassie and conceptualised her album cover, Mali. He organised the artist line-up to launch the gay and lesbian film festival in 2003 and has also edited articles published in Campus Times and the Mail and Guardian.
Nhlanhla worked as producer on a documentary series for SABC 1’s sex and secrecy slot in collaboration with Underdog Productions titled Black Beulah’s whilst at the same time pursuing a diploma in Project-Management.
Nhlanhla completed a 13 part series of “Intimate Connexionz” (2005) as producer, content producer and executive producer, led the research & development and was also script supervisor on the series. He completed a documentary producing course at Monash University. In 2006 Nhlanhla worked as an assistant stylist for a 4-part mini series titled Society and shortly thereafter as creative and script consultant in a 4-part mini series for SABC 1 titled After Nine. In 2007 Nhlanhla worked as a production assistant for an action x be an action hero promotion for M-Net. In 2008 Nhlanhla produced a short film titled Beautiful Contradictions, a pilot for a feature film he is producing titled Rewind. In 2009 and 2010 Nhlanhla continued work as a production and projects manager.